In my previous reflection, Jubilee, Temptation, and Growth in Awareness (1), I entertained the thought that a part of the rationale for the Jubilee year was to provide a test in order to enhance the awareness of God’s people of what God already knew about them. The desire to maintain power through maintenance of material advantage was a constant temptation. In addition, their faith in God’s ultimate provision of their needs would have to be continually reinforced.
It is this lack of faith that would fortify the desire to maintain forms of material power to the disadvantaging of other members of the community. Such awareness, ideally, would arouse the recognition of the need for God’s enablement of faith and obedience. Another way of understanding this “enablement” is “grace” along the lines the apostle Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 15:10:
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
The people of God would have access to God in fellowship and empowerment, if they would chose to enjoy such blessings. Grace, however, can also be conceived of as facilitation of communal provisions through human structures. These structures take the form of systems of The people of God would have access to God in fellowship and empowerment, if they would chose to enjoy such blessings.accountability to the members of a given community. Thus, in the contemporary scene, Christians can practice “Jubilee perspectives” in business relationships through transformed motivations of heart, but also through adherence to common laws and policies. The realm of the formulation of common laws and policies is that which provides the opportunity for Christians to have an impact on the secular business world. To begin to flesh this out, I will be consulting the work of Dr. Albino Barrera as he reflects on the subject of “Economic Justice” (in The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics, pp. 533-548).
Barrera encapsulates much in few words as he writes of the possibility of Christian contribution to the shaping of public economic policies:
…it will be an uphill battle for Christianity to have a large role in shaping the public’s evolving market morality…Moreover, even if there is no palpable change in public policy or attitudes, by making its voice heard, Christianity can nevertheless still sensitize society to the value of every human person, the familial nature of the human community, and the telos (end) for which the economy of the earth exists (p. 546).
It would be worthwhile to develop the meaning of some of Barrera’s terms in these statements. I will attempt to this in the next reflection. I will make some immediate complementary points, however. In order to maximize a positive influence on the secular business world, Christians in all levels of involvement, must seek to do three things.
(1) They must model biblical principles in their own practices;
(2) They must have a pervasive presence in all legal spheres of business; and,
(3) They must seek to serve others even with the possibility of diminished personal profits.
More in terms of development and explanation of Barrera’s thoughts, along with my own, will follow, Lord willing.